How to Get Strong Nails
Weak fingernails can lead to splits, ragged edges, or painful hangnails. Despite many popular and dubious beauty tips, there are really only a few solutions that work. For most people on a healthy diet, daily moisturizing and a switch to gentle nail care routines are the only changes worth considering.
Moisturize the cuticles with oil.Dry nails are brittle nails. To reduce splitting and breaking, rub a moisturizing cream or olive oil into the cuticles daily.Petroleum jelly or a thick, greasy hand lotion that seals in moisture should do the trick as well.
Consider biotin supplements.Biotin may not have much of an effect unless you have severely brittle nails, but it may be worth a tryA daily dose of 30 mcg is enough to avoid deficiency.Some people take a much larger daily dose of 2.5 mg to strengthen nails. You can also increase your biotin intake naturally by consuming more eggs, almonds, sweet potatoes, and other dietary sources of this B vitamin.
- Talk to a doctor first before you start taking any new supplements or make any major dietary changes.
File carefully.Shape nails with a fine-grit file (at least 180 grit), avoiding metal files and rough emery boards.File in one direction only, never back and forth.Smoothing away nicks and rough edges can help prevent breakage, but stick to this careful approach.
- Make sure your nails are completely dry before filing. Always wait to file for at least 10 minutes after showering or doing the dishes.
- Try shaping long nails to an oval, rather than a point or square, to reduce pressure.
- Never file down the sides of nails, as it can lead to infection and seriously weaken your nails.
Eat a healthy diet.Many beauty websites and magazines tout specific foods or supplements. There is little to no evidence that most of these work. In general, a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals from food should be enough to avoid nail problems. Some people may benefit from calcium, iron, zinc, or vitamin B supplements, but only if their diet is low in these substances.Talk to your doctor for more information.
- Don't believe myths about gelatin or garlic strengthening nails. These have no noticeable effect when eaten or used to soak the nails.
- Protein is necessary to grow fingernails, but very few people in developed nations are protein-deficient.
Use your own manicure tools only.Anything that touches your nails should be used on your nails only. Sharing files, brushes, and other tools can spread infection, leading to puffy red cuticles and weak nails.
- Even a professional nail salon may not clean its instruments properly. Bring your own tools or make sure the salon staff sterilizes their instruments.
Leave your cuticles alone.The cuticles at the base of your nails protect against fungi and bacteria. Cutting them can lead to an infection that permanently damages the nail bed.
- Gently pushing your cuticles back can help you manage them without additional damage. Soften your cuticles by soaking them in water, then use an orange stick to push them back and keep them looking neat.
- Fake fingernails that extend over the cuticles also cause harm. Use fake nail tips instead.
Avoid nail hardeners.These products make untested claims and are rarely worth the risks. Even if they succeed in hardening your nails, the end result may be brittle and easily broken.
Switch nail polish brands.Some nail polishes, especially ones that contain formaldehyde, make the nail brittle and dry.Try switching to a different brand for a few weeks and see what happens. Avoid quick-drying formulas, as these can further dry out your nails.
- Some dermatologists recommend leaving nail polish on for no longer than five days.
- Try using hand lotion instead of a base coat, to further protect your nails.
Take care when removing polish.Never chip or peel off the polish. Always soak it with a nail polish remover until you can easily scrub it away. These polish removers do dry out your nail, so moisturize afterward with nail cream, thick hand cream, petroleum jelly, or olive oil.
- Unless you are removing acrylic nails, look for a non-acetone formula of nail polish remover.
Minimize wear and tear.Manual labor, housework frequent hand washing, and exposure to cleaning chemicals can all tear your nails. Wear gloves during these activities when possible.
- If nail stress is unavoidable, possibly due to work-required hand washing, or playing classical guitar, you may need to moisturize several times daily.
- Type with the pads of your fingers, not your nails.
Go without polish 1-2 times a month to let your nails breathe.Wearing thick polish or wearing polish every day can dry your nails out, making them brittle. Spend at least a few days every month without polish to let your nails breathe and maintain their strength. When you do wear polish, always use a protective base coat and apply your polish in thin layers.
QuestionWhat do I do if I don't have access to the oils or creams/polishes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerLiterally any oils you have handy that you would use to grease a pan are okay. No polish is needed, and it's better to not have access to it. Your nails with thank you for a break from polish.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if I bite my nails?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry going to a pharmacy and look for special products that you apply on your nails to make it easier to stop. They usually leave a bad taste in your mouth.Thanks!
QuestionWhat does a base coat do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA base coat protects your nails from chipping or breaking. It also makes it easier for you to remove the nail polish later.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I swim a lot?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThat's fine. Just remember to moisturize your nails right after leaving the pool as chlorine can dry them out.Thanks!
QuestionI play the violin, but I want long nails. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou will probably need to decide on one or the other. You can grow your nails when you will not be playing for a period of time and cut them when you need to play again.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I play drums?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you play drums, you may want to keep your nails relatively short. Holding drum sticks can get tricky with longer nails. Also, if you keep them too long, you're likely to smack one against a drum and break it at some point.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I treat my brittle nails?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYour nails may be brittle because of water exposure over a long period of time. Make sure to moisturize with olive oil, jojoba oil, castor oil. Eat a good diet.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if you play guitar?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou'll need to keep the nails on your fretting hand short, if you intend to continue playing guitar. The nails on your strumming hand can be allowed to grow as long as you'd like, as long as you can still hold the pick. If you fingerpick, you can grow your nails as long as you'd like, as long as they do not interfere with your picking of the strings.Thanks!
QuestionEvery time my nails grow pretty, one breaks and I have to file! What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf it tears, use a nail patch. If it breaks, wear a self-adhesive fake nail (don't use glue) until it grows longer, then file it.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I grow my nails?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerImprove your diet and apply olive oil to the tips.Thanks!
My nails chip in layers. Why do they do that and how can I stop it?
What brand is a good mending kit for split fingernails?
To get strong nails, rub olive oil or a thick hand cream into your cuticles to moisturize them and keep your nails from becoming brittle. Also, make sure to wear gloves when you do housework, since cleaning chemicals can damage your nails. If your nails are very weak, try taking a 2.5 mg biotin supplement each day to strengthen them. Then, when you file your nails, use a fine-grit emery board and file in only one direction, instead of back and forth, to prevent breakage.
- Repair a broken nail with nail glue or a nail mending kit.
- Classical guitar players have many ways to make the nail harder for a clearer sound. For instance, they may dip the nail tip in nail glue and nail acrylic powder, then buff dry.Techniques like this usually make the nail weaker or more brittle, so they are not recommended for non-guitarists.
- Biting your nails leaves ragged tears. Check out this article for advice on breaking the habit.
- Rarely, weak nails are a sign of an underlying disease. Talk to a doctor if none of this advice works for you.
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Video: How to GROW YOUR NAILS FAST!!! (actually helpful information)
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